Review: Wayward Son

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Series: Simon Snow
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Maturity Level: 5-
View on Goodreads

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

I bought this book mainly because I figured as long as I own every book Rainbow Rowell has ever written, I may as well round out the set. I was fully prepared to not enjoy it. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much better it was than Carry On!

Reasons Wayward Son worked better than Carry On:

  • Didn’t require a plot to live up to six books of Chosen-One action adventure, which played better to Rowell’s strengths.
  • Somehow still had a better plot and more exciting action sequences.
  • Seeing America from a British perspective was freaking hilarious.
  • Seeing Normals (muggles) from a magic perspective was just as funny. Who knew Renaissance Faires were so bizarre?
  • The characters were more obviously caricatures and really played into the ways they were over the top.
  • Which made them less obnoxious.
  • Fewer random POVs.
  • More satisfactory ending. Yes, even despite a semi-cliffhanger.
  • Took itself less seriously, and had all around a better sense of humor.
  • Actual character development outside of realizing you’re in love with your roommate.

Ways Wayward Son didn’t go quite as well:

  • Less romantic.
  • Very little kissing.
  • Nobody talked about their feelings.
  • Seriously, where was the swooning?

I know that Rainbow Rowell is writing Simon and Baz truly from her heart, and the only reason we are going to continue getting more books about them is that she can’t let them go, and that makes it really hard to criticize these books. But I don’t feel they are as strong as her realistic fiction. Even though her writing really resonates with me (seriously, I ALWAYS laugh out loud) (and swoon) this series doesn’t have the WOW factor that her other books always have for me. I love Simon and Baz, I love how complicated their relationship is. I want to give these books 5 stars. But this is a solid 4-star series for me.

If you liked Carry On you’ll like this. If you didn’t this book isn’t going to magically change your mind.

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